Only vegetarians should criticize hunting

Posted: Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I would like to add my opinion to the leopard hunting controversy, principally to Sherrie Jan and her critical June 19

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I think only vegetarians are entitled to criticize hunting. If you eat meat from any source except fish, you are a passive participant in our inhumane industrial farming of livestock. Veal, no doubt, is the worst example, but it is relatively easy to avoid buying or eating veal. The tiny wooden coops the poor calves are kept in for their short lives also have parallels in the marginally more humane chicken coops, feed lots and hog farm monstrosities. These domestic animals meet their frightful ends in the slaughterhouse.

A wild animal pursued by hunters, in contrast, has lived its life in a natural way and can attempt to elude the hunter as it does other predators in its territory. The adult leopard may not have any other natural predators but its cubs do and can be the victims of hyenas, for example.

I am near the end of my life span and too old to change my ways dramatically with regard to eating meat, but I do feel it is more ethical to avoid the flesh of mammals, in structure and physiology so similar to us that they can replace us in lab experiments. Another reason for avoiding red meat in particular is it is far more expensive to farm raise and industrial raise animals for food in terms of energy used, the carbon footprint left and its effect on global warming, than it is to raise plants for food.

Like Tracy Hansen ("Hunter has good bedside manner," June 25), I don't approve of trophy hunting. But we do allow and promote it in Alaska. So if you enjoy a juicy hamburger, let's not bash our hard working, productive fellow citizens for their choice of vacations.

Elizabeth A. Daugherty


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